Why the UK Runs Trains to Nowhere

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This video was made possible by squarespace. build your website for 10% off at. squarespace. com/hai. this train should not exist, and, if were. up to the train company, it wouldn’t, but. it’s not. you see, in the uk, trains work off a franchising. system where the uk government awards. contracts to different private companies to. operate rail services. for example virgin trains east. coast operate the east coast route, scotrail. operates most trains in scotland, transpennine. express operates many trains to and from manchester,. and there are about two dozen other. operators, but this particular train that. shouldn’t exist is operated by chiltern. railways. they. mostly operate trains to smaller towns between. london and birmingham and all of their trains. to. london terminate at marylebone station…. except for one—this one. this particular train. operates from the nearby london paddington. station—the terminus for great western and. heathrow express services. but chiltern railways has to operate services. to london paddington. because this document says so—their franchise. agreement. this document is basically the. contract between the railway company and the. uk government so to modify this document they. have to ask the government and, as we all. know, sometimes governments aren’t very. efficient. so here’s your super simple guide to closing. a railway route in britain. step one: perform. a “transport appraisal. ”. this is basically an analysis of the effects. that the line closure will have. on passengers, the environment, and the economy. the strait-forward three stage fourteen step. process of creating a transport appraisal. is explained in this handy 35 page document. featuring. this super user-friendly flowchart. once you’ve completed that, just give it. to the uk. department of transport who will analyze your. analysis. step two: publish your proposal of. closure including the findings of your transport. appraisal six months before the proposed closure. in one local newspaper circulating near the. proposed closure and in two national newspapers. for. two weeks continuously. step three: open a twelve-week consultation. period including public. hearings where anyone who disagrees with the. closure can protest. once you’ve completed those. three easy steps, then you’ll hand everything. over to the office of rail and road who will. decide. whether or not you can close the line. as you might have been able to tell from my. not-at-all-sarcastic explanation, it’s not. easy. to close a franchised rail route, but nowhere. in the agreement does it say how often chiltern. railways has to operate their route to paddington—it. just says they need to. so they operate it…. once per day. now compared to the us where cities as big. as houston, texas only see three. trains a week and have stations that look. like this, a daily service from paddington. probably. seems normal, but the station this service. goes to, high wycombe, sees 95 trains a day. from the. normal london station—marylebone. one train per day is nothing for a uk train. route,. especially from london. chiltern railways, like many other train companies,. have decided it’s. just easier and cheaper to operate an infrequent. service to fulfill their franchise agreement. instead. of going through the rather expensive formal. closure process. but some rail companies have pushed the boundaries. of what is considered “service” to. an extreme. northern’s franchise agreement requires. them to operate a train between stockport. and stalybridge which they fulfill by running. one train, one-way, once per week. between. stockport and stalybridge there are two stations. which are therefore serviced by one train. per. week. closing stations is just as difficult as closing. lines so they won’t do it. denton station. therefore recorded only 144 passengers in. the past year while reddish south saw just. 94. thirty. miles to the north, london midland is required. to operate services to barlaston railway station,. but companies are allowed to temporarily operate. rail replacement buses during maintenance. this company, however, has interpreted “temporary”. as 13 years as they’ve operated rail. replacement busses to this station since to fulfill their obligation. the chiltern railways service from london. paddington to high wycombe is definitively. unprofitable. on many days there are zero passengers. on the day this footage was filmed, there. was only one. this bureaucratic closure process is meant. to protect the public by preventing. companies from closing unprofitable smaller. stations, but in reality most of what is does. is make. these ghost trains. if you’ve just realized “ghost train”. is a great band name and want to make a website. for. your new group, you should try squarespace. squarespace makes building a website super. simple with their customizable templates,. powerful website builder, and 24/7 award-winning. customer support. they even sell domains 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